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Author Topic: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum  (Read 2094 times)

RPGPundit

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D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« on: August 03, 2022, 09:27:04 PM »
Woke "Safety Tools" like the X-Card claim to be to help traumatized people be able to play D&D, but are actually based on the idea that you are unspeakably toxic and evil, and need to be controlled, as part of their attack on normal society.
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Kahoona

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2022, 01:11:50 AM »
I've been forced to run X Cards at my flgs a few times when I was a DM for the adventures league. To say the least for the average group of players they where never used. Then, the fourth session of them being used three new players joined the games (turned out these three requested the X Cards to be used but then had the gull to not show up for a few weeks) and used them to basically bully other players and GMs. These three where walking stereotypes, two MTFs and one Butch Lesbian. The dozens of pride pins all the works, minus hair dye. And a serious chip on their shoulders.

Something happened they didn't like? X-Card. They fail an action? X-Card. A monster targets them? X-Card. This was actually a day where I was playing board games with friends and not running as we had a smaller turn out. The DM who has these 3 disruptive players during a break asked to swap with me and they are on the... Awkward side of things when it comes to social interactions and did not handle conflict well. And being bullied by these three bad actors really upset this lad. So, he made up an excuse about an emergency and handed the game off to me.

The problem I noticed with these bloody cards is the expectation to not question their use. Which means you can never actually find the problem. So, when they started bullying myself and the other players again, I began to ask "What happened? There seems to be something upsetting you as you are using the card often."

It was like I kicked a puppy or something. The reactions from those three where horrid as they started screaming that I should never ask for someone to explain traumas and that this is a safe space where they should feel safe. I countered with something like "I cannot provide a safe space without understanding what is triggering. I don't need details, just the knowledge of what is triggering you" this one sentence. Took like seven attempts to be said with me having to calm them down.

After many attempts I was able to find out the problem. They didn't like "My Style" or the word "No".  Now, by this point most of the game store was high key paying attention to the table since it was free entertainment by this point. But I managed to finish half of the session despite all of the interruptions and I managed to push back against these three bullies by forcing them to explain the problem they had .

Thankfully, they never came back and the shop for the 5th week since the introduction of these rules removed them as "We felt these rules created a negative environment for players and DMs"

Since then, I've experienced them in online games and a few convention's and I've learned that they are almost only used by bullies and losers. And if you push back against this bad behavior you can curb the behavior utterly or quickly get kicked out from a game. Overall, I agree that these are just tools to control others. Nothing else, as if you do have traumas and I somehow trigger your trauma..it's your job to handle that shit then talk to me after you handle your shit. If we need a short pause? Sure. But it better be a damn good reason to stop the game.

So far, I've only had to stop the game once for a player who has a good reason and otherwise my players spoke to me in PMs or after the game if something came up that upset them.

Svenhelgrim

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2022, 07:46:31 AM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?  When one of these crybullies tries to pull that shit you can have the rest of the players throw down their x-cards and tell the  crybully that they are all triggered by the actions of that person. 

What if you, as GM tell the X-carder that “A protective bubble suddenly surrounds your character and you cannot be affected by anything that is happening.  Also you cannot see or hear through the bubble.”  Then ask the player to wait outside while your character is protected and we will resume play when the encounter is over.  Then just never call them back in.


Wntrlnd

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2022, 08:21:31 AM »
I have two anecdotes regarding this I want to share.

The first one is when I x-carded myself (as a GM) even before the campaign started (pre-world war 1). I told my players that there are things in the setting that I won't roleplay out. (mainly anti-semitism and casual racism) But they could (and should) assume that it was there. All the time.

But by not saying those words, pejoratives and slurs, I wanted to show how "normal" or "ordinary" it was for people in the setting/during that time period to not reflect on the underlying racism. What was acceptable then is not acceptable now, so if a NPC uses any of those words now, its because I want to highlight that particular npc being a particularly vile racist. 

The thing is, I explained to my players beforehand my reasoning and they were fine with it.


My second anecdote is the time I GM:ed a player who obviously wasn't suited for roleplaying.

It was at a con and at about 20 minutes in the player had a nervous breakdown. This has never happened to me either before or after.

I GM:ed a adventure for a couple of players I've never GM:ed before.
They were at this high class party and I roleplayed the host. A powerful (and slightly intimidating) character whos word were law and who could have people killed for crossing him. But, I played him as a generous and charming host and as long as the players met him with respect there would be no trouble.

So one thing I do sometimes is that I go around the table to let each and every player have a turn to get a chance to roleplay. All the host did was strike up some casual chit-chat with the players, his guests, you know, mingling.

And then I turned to the final player, a petit teenage girl. Who just completely broke down and we had to completely cancel the game. The other players (her friends) rushed to her help and comfort and one player addressed me, apologized and told me that we had to end it there. (I can only assume they were accustomed to this girls frail psyche)

WTF just happened?

So can there be players who genuinely have issues? Yeah, there is.
Would X-cards have helped here?
I don't think so.

Fheredin

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2022, 08:29:16 AM »
I think the fundamental problem is that most safety tools are designed by Woke Snowflakes. As such the problem isn't necessarily that safety tools are bad, but that the people actually making them tend to share tyrannical vices. And that means the safety tools are, of course, very disruptive and in almost all instances, massively overkill.

Personally, I tend to prefer talking about Table Governance instead of safety tools, meaning that the game should have a formal mechanic which creates a metagame space for players and the GM to talk about the game's direction and content, and in a pinch, to regulate that direction and content. And really, most GMs I've played with already implement some form of table governance, it's just an informal one where they interview each player every few sessions, and it's learned from years of GMing and roleplaying, not a process written in any RPG that I've read.

And that, of course, means that novice GMs make mistakes, which is probably what 95% of "safety tool situations" boil down to. Especially as I think problem players are notably more common these days than they were 20 years ago.

In my opinion, good table governance can always substitute for the situations you would actually want safety tool, but a safety tool--being a dedicated implement--can't do certain things which table governance can. The tradeoff is that it means moving past the idea that the GM is God of the Game because you have to run a formal mechanical process. I'm sure that's going to piss some grognards off.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2022, 08:50:36 AM »
In my opinion, good table governance can always substitute for the situations you would actually want safety tool, but a safety tool--being a dedicated implement--can't do certain things which table governance can. The tradeoff is that it means moving past the idea that the GM is God of the Game because you have to run a formal mechanical process. I'm sure that's going to piss some grognards off.

Does not follow.  Look, being "God of the Game" means exactly that.  Within the game setting/world/rules however you want to define it, the GM has last say, and often first and middle say as well.  It's a necessary part of a traditionally run game (i.e. absent certain meta game mechanics put in place to deliberately farm some of that responsibility out to the players in a formal way) but even then, someone has to do it.

This is completely orthogonal to whether or not said person, GM or otherwise, is acting like a reasonable person or a dick.  Part of not being a dick is being aware of the other people at the table as fellow human beings with feelings and interests.  The only reason to ever continue playing with a dick (GM or otherwise) is that the dick behavior is compensated by something else the group values (great roleplaying, long-time friend in other pursuits, whatever) enough to put up with it.  Or rarely, everyone else sees that person is really trying hard to improve but just not there yet, and thus they see the game as a way to help practice out of bad habits.  (It is rare, and usually people try this with way too much optimism about human nature.  However, I have seen it work more than once.)

Mixing the two categories, in the game and out of the game, seldom works well for changing behavior.  And when they do, it is only around the edges.  Leaving aside all the specific things wrong with the X-Card that make it either useless or actively harmful, it doesn't even perform as advertised, because it can't bridge that divide.  It's the player equivalent of the GM engineering a TPK because the players brought pizza to the game but didn't get exactly what he wanted. 

An X-Card variant, where touching it stopped the game momentarily while everyone talked out what was going on that was bothering them--completely outside the game, could conceivably work in certain select situations.  For me, that would be an automatic game killer--as in, I'm stopping the game right there--because I'm not going that close to the edge, and my sessions aren't for therapy.  I think attempting to use an RPG for therapy is GM malpractice, and more likely to harm than hurt (having some practical experience with people involved in each). 

"Table Governance" for normal people, in normal situations, is the same as it is at every other non-gaming social activity.  Excluding the dicks, if something comes up, you talk about it, no mechanical widget necessary. 
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 09:43:03 AM by Steven Mitchell »

GhostNinja

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2022, 09:00:51 AM »
Bottom line:   X-Cards and other safety tools or pointless.

The toxic games and DM's/GMs out there will still be toxic because they will never use the safety tools.

The majority of gamers wont ever use safety tools.   Even on the big purple turd the subject doesn't come up much if ever anymore.  They have been rejected, nobody needs them and nobody wants them.

If you need to use a safety tool like X-cards, you probably shouldn't be gaming in the first place.

My 2cents

jeff37923

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2022, 09:30:20 AM »
Session Zero and Clear Communication are the best safety tools imaginable.

'Nuff Said.
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RPGPundit

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2022, 10:56:36 AM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

So like, a counterspell?
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GhostNinja

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2022, 11:00:23 AM »
Session Zero and Clear Communication are the best safety tools imaginable.

'Nuff Said.

Quoted because it bears repeating.  The only player consent is "Here is the game I am going to run, do you want to play? Yes/No" and if something isn't to their liking they are free to leave. 

Period.

GhostNinja

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2022, 11:02:03 AM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

So like, a counterspell?

What happens if someone X-Cards you X-Carding someone else?  It will never end!!!   ;D ;D

Steven Mitchell

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2022, 11:04:57 AM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

So like, a counterspell?

What happens if someone X-Cards you X-Carding someone else?  It will never end!!!   ;D ;D

Sure it does.  An unstable loop is formed which eventually implodes, killing all the participants or at least rendering them unable to game for some time. Thus the universe restores some modest measure of sanity, based on the great principle that "What cannot continue, will not." :D

Svenhelgrim

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2022, 11:20:26 AM »
Here is my solution to the whole X-card business.  Have a sign on a door that reads: “This Way To collect your ‘X’ Card.” Have that door be a one-way exit that leads to a garbage-strewn alley. A camera should be installed so you can record the looks on their faces once they hear that final “SLAM” behind them.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 11:33:46 AM by Svenhelgrim »

Ruprecht

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2022, 11:22:59 AM »
Each person gets 2 x-cards. They can use each once. After that they have to leave as the game is clearly overly triggering.
This is assuming a convention game or open table in which the GM has no control over who plays.

Hopefully you can get sane players to goad the x-card usage early to get the problems out of the way.
Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. ~Robert E. Howard

Ruprecht

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2022, 11:24:01 AM »
Here is my solution to the whole X-card business.  Have asign on a door that reads: “This Way To collect your ‘X’ Card.” Have that door be a one-way exit that leads to a garbage-strewn alley. A camera should he installed so you can record the looks on their faces once they hear that final “SLAM” behind them.
+1  Upvote
Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. ~Robert E. Howard